It’s often said that the church planter is like a Swiss Army knife—he takes on many forms to complete different tasks. We’re required to do so many things, especially in the beginning, and we get quite good at multitasking. There’s a “can do” mentality to the church planter, which can be very helpful in times of stress. But that mentality can also lead to an unhealthy understanding of power. When we’re doing everything for everyone, we come to think we’re really that important.
So when our churches begin to experience disorder, we often take it personally. It’s true that much is required of the church planter and pastor, but believing we’re the ones holding this all together is a deceitful lie. Our ministries and churches do not thrive because we’re great leaders, they thrive by the power and grace of God. We have a role to play in that, but it’s just a role—we’re not in charge, therefore we have nothing to prove.
Here are two observations from Psalm 103 to encourage you to turn from the idol of power and rest in God’s grace.
God Offers Pardon
No matter what we do or how many times we fail, God never leaves us. Take note of David’s words in Psalm 103:8–10:
“The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.”
God is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love. His covenantal faithfulness never wavers, even when our trust in him does. We can be great leaders, husbands, friends, pastors, and planters, but inevitably, we will make mistakes. When failure arrives at your doorstep, how do you respond? Do you wonder what you could’ve done differently and long for a better outcome? Do you respond with self-loathing and pity? Church planter, pastor, and ministry leader—it’s OK to fail. But what you do in light of your failure is important. Click To Tweet
Often, we spend so much time dissecting our shortcomings rather than resting in God’s great mercy and grace. Failure doesn’t have to hang over your shoulder, taunting you as you try to move forward. God offers pardon to the sinner and to the sufferer. He longs to give you rest. You have nothing to prove because God has proven his faithfulness to be all you need.
God Remembers and Cares
Not only are we released from our sin and shame, but we’re also beloved and remembered by God. David continues this thought in Psalm 103:13–14:
“As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.”
We’re often tempted to rest in our accomplishments, but Psalm 103 reminds us how incredibly small we really are. We’re likened to dust and grass and mere flowers in a large field. God rules and reigns far above what we can even comprehend. He knows us because he made us. He delights in us because he loves us and wants to show compassion. God cares for us, even when we resist it.
Today, we live in a culture that celebrates human ability. We’re encouraged to live our best lives no matter the cost, and to do whatever it takes to succeed. Our happiness is of top priority, and failure shouldn’t stop us from having everything we want. But the truth we find in Scripture offers so much more than this false idea of happiness. Often, we spend so much time dissecting our shortcomings rather than resting in God’s great mercy and grace. Click To Tweet
As Christians, it’s OK to be weak because, in our shortcomings, the strength of Christ takes center stage. It’s OK to be small and insignificant because we have a great and merciful Father in heaven.
Church planter, pastor, and ministry leader—it’s OK to fail. But what you do in light of your failure is important. Will you turn inward in pride, looking for a way out? Or will you seek the goodness of God through prayer and his Word? May we be people who recognize the idol of pride in our lives and long to humbly submit ourselves to our merciful and gracious God.